This time of year, vineyards all around the northern hemisphere are getting ready to begin the harvesting process. While the harvest generally takes place between late August and October, the actual timing is determined by the grapes themselves, ripened to the perfect point by the previous year’s weather and temperature.
Traditionally the first grapes ready for harvest are the fruit for pinot gris, sauvignon blanc, pinot noir and chardonnay. Later in the harvest season (often a full month later), the deep reds are ready: merlot, syrah and cabernet sauvignon.
Visiting wine country in the fall—whether it’s California’s Napa Valley; Bordeaux, France; Tuscany, Italy or Porto, Portugal—adds an extra special element to your trip. The glowy reds and golds of autumn bring warm tones into the landscape, the restaurants and farmers in the area usually have new, fresh flavors and you can often detect an actual sweetness in the air. Another added bonus? Wine festivals are easy to stumble upon—in Italy for example, you can find celebrations and festivals everywhere from bustling Rome to charming towns like Asti and Chianti’s hill town of Panzano.
And not to worry, if you miss the fall harvests, you can celebrate later in the year. For vineyards in the southern hemisphere (think Australia, South Africa and Chili), their harvest happens six months later between February and April.
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Where would you like to experience the fall wine harvest? Tell us in the comments below!